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Live Updates from the Predators Press Conference

Rodriguez and cast speak!

Shock is going to do something a little different… I’m sitting here at the Luxe Hotel just off of Sunset in Los Angeles where we’re participating in 20th Century Fox’s press conference for Predators. I’m sitting down 1:1 with the creative team later in the afternoon, and we’ll have those full interviews next week, but why not bring you the highlights from the conference now?

So, keep refreshing this page because, in moments, you’ll start seeing updates.

Rodriguez/Nimrod Antal

• On why the Predator character has endured… Antal: Loved the original, thinks the ensemble was amazing and the Predator ranks as one of the finest creatures in history.

• Rodriguez remembers seeing the first film with his body building brother for the first time. And they thought they were seeing another Commando-type film. But Predator was something “unique.”

• Rodriguez: His design team all have Predator toys and busts and thinks the “humanoid” nature of the creature made him identifiable.

• Rodriguez: In ’95, in his original script, bringing Dutch back as a character was entertained. But as development went on, the story was going off in another direction. And scheduling was a bitch.

• Antal: In early talks, what they wanted to incorporate was bringing in old school hunting techniques. Bring back the jungle – a character in and of itself.

• Antal: Didn’t want the jungle to look lush, wanted it to look threatening. They all started from the original film, make something the fans appreciated. Tried to mirror the original without ripping it off.

• Rodriguez: Antal is soft-spoken, but he’s very commanding as a director often screaming, “Shock and awe!” to get his actors amped up.

• Rodriguez: Was receptive to getting Adrien Brody for the lead. They took another part to him at first. Brody wanted the lead, however, something out of the norm.

• Rodriguez: Brody convinced them he could beef up and be the right man for the part. They were looking for something fresh and different, which was needed for the film. They were going for great actors, someone surprising and new. And Brody transformed himself and had the acting chops.

• Antal: Brody came to work, he fought for it. “That was bitchin’.” He had something to prove.

• Antal: We knew the perception of Adrien put him in a box and he knew he could turn the actor into who they needed to be.

• Antal: He was lucky to be working with Robert. No discrepancies as far as where the film needed to go creatively. They knew early on they wanted to incorporate elements that gave the original fans a thrill, but knew it had to be a delicate balance.

• Antal: Didn’t want to do a remake. Wanted to make a film that stood on its own.

• Rodriguez: We needed to set the rules for those who didn’t know about the original films. “The balance of was there” in terms of new and old.

• Rodriguez: Entertained for a minute the idea of bringing Carl Weathers back and remembered he “died” in the first film.

• Antal: 14 when he saw the first film and walked out going “whoa.” When he heard Rodriguez wanted him for the new film, he was, coincidentally, with the exact same group of friends he saw the original film with.

• Antal: As far as characters, there was an early draft of the script where there were two prison inmates to be dropped on the planet, but they scaled it down.

• Antal: Wanted to cut out the female role. Didn’t “want a prop” running around screaming. She needed to “sell” her place there.

• Antal: Rodriguez had to convince him to keep her in. Alice Braga was cast and she proved to be the toughest of the bunch and was “awesome.”

• Rodriguez: She’s the heart of the movie now.

• Rodriguez/Antal: They considered making her an alien at the end, but it was too ridiculous.

• Antal: Title for a sequel? “Predatorsssss” [laughs]

• Antal: This was the first film he made where a filmmaker was producing and was allowed more freedom and love than he’s ever gotten in the American film system. It plays into his love for the Predator and this was a huge deal for him.

• Rodriguez: For the title… Didn’t reference the other sequels and AvP because they didn’t exist when he first wrote the script. Predators to Predator is like Aliens to Alien. If there was a sequel, it would be Predators with a subtitle.

• Rodriguez: Since he wasn’t directing, he threw everything into the script he wanted to see. Tons of ideas that he knew might be too big. He wouldn’t need to worry about it. But then they approached him and they had to toss out some ideas. Made the script about the chase and the hunt. Took out Dutch. Kept the planet and the other alien creatures that might be on the planet. The chain of the command of the Predators that you see in the film.

• Antal: The Predator is seen for the first time in the film defeating, the character is demystified and Antal loved that.

• Rodriguez: SPOILER! Because Danny Trejo is in Machete, they wanted to keep his character somewhat short, but make his like a Jesse Ventura-like character. “If Danny dies early, they’re all screwed.”

• Rodriguez: The writers put “a Danny Trejo type” in the script…

• Antal: Danny called and said, hey, I look just like Danny…

• Rodriguez: New Machete trailer attached to the Predators print next week!

More guests coming up.

Adrien Brody/Walton Goggins

• Brody: There’s more to his character than the physical abilities. Getting into the headspace is just as important. The mental transformation goes hand in hand with the physical transformation. The confidence level goes up when you feel strong.

• Brody: Restricted his diet. For the first time since college, he lifted heavy weights. The body chemistry changed. The physical change was important, but he cultivated the mindset Royce needed to be in. Studied military field manuals, took in as much as he could to create someone with a sense of control.

• Brody: Didn’t want the fear to paralyze his character.

• Goggins: I just read Playboy.

• Goggins: After thinking about his character’s time in jail, he approached Antal and said he hasn’t been socialized in years. His prep was the antithesis of Adrien’s. He’s been in prison for years and years, so being out in the jungle is all new to him. His physical prep was the lack of physical prep.

• Goggins: My blessing and curse as an actor is to take a character on paper and make the audience hate him, but then turn it around and make people laugh with him. Make him 360.

• Brody: It’s surprising when people are surprised by his choices in roles. As an actor, he’s made a conscious decision to not repeat himself to keep it interesting.

• Brody: I look at this as an opportunity to do something special in a type of film he loves. Hollywood has had a reliance on physical brawn, but the confidence comes from within.

• Brody: Coming from a tactical approach. And did feel he need to transform physically. A hero should look strong but didn’t want to just rely on that. It’s a big coup for him and is very protective of this movie and character.

• Goggins: Every day was challenging. They were soaked in sweat every day. The biggest predators were the mosquitoes. For the crew it was difficult. Shooting took place in Hawaii and Texas, drastic changes in temperature… Physically challenging in all respects. One day, a childhood dream crystallized when they saw the stunt men jumping off of waterfalls, “we’re all characters in a Predator sequel. We’ll all hugged each other and loved it.”

• Brody: Sequel is determined by the success of the film. He doesn’t think that far ahead. The idea of reprising the role sounds interesting and it would be exciting to see his character progress or deteriorate. He’s often drawn to roles that affect him on an emotional level. What he loved about Royce is the emotional hardness most of the characters he has played didn’t have.

• Goggins: One scene that didn’t make the cut involves his character approaching Alice Braga’s character about sex since “they’re all going to die.” She shuts him down.

• Brody: Playing a hero… Having a sense of humor makes for a cleaner, more pure, character. You need to rein it in and be sincere. Can’t be an external thing or it will appear that way.

• Brody: Didn’t want a superficial hero. Someone who was a bit tragic. Being a survivalist can be lonely place. It’s you above anyone else. To goof off with the role would be a waste.

• Brody: This is a darker story than the first film. The general theme is to be rooted in reality and create a sense of a constant threat level.

• Goggins: But there had to be one-liners. “Die you space, fa**ot” was a great time. It fits into the story, and hopefully you don’t wink at the audience.

• Goggins: His character gets his ass kicked by everything on the planet. There was a lot of joy about “let’s bring it on, let’s get chased!” Took a lot of enjoyment in it!

And that’s all from the conference!

Source: Ryan Turek, Managing Editor